I inspire people to find their strength and peace
and to live in harmony with their environment.


It all started with the tragic loss of my beloved son, Phillip.  After his passing, I lost the passion to get up every morning and go to work. My work, although rewarding, did not fill the gap in my life as it did before. I was searching for a new meaning in life. After Phillip’s passing, the world was different for me. It felt different. It all changed when I went to Plum Village in France for my first Mindfulness Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. Equipped with newly learned skills I returned to teaching in California. My teaching was different. It contained more depth and freedom. I practiced mindfulness with my students and with the teachers. This became my passion. People were drawn to this peaceful energy. In fact, I was asked to guide and record meditation sessions. I witnessed how the practice of mindfulness helped people to slow down, reflect on the inner peace of body and mind and to transform the not-so-good feelings into true happiness.

After practicing and teaching mindfulness for several years, I feel very enthusiastic about sharing what I have found to be the foundations of living with joy and happiness. I have found a peaceful and charming location, my home here on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica that I would love to share with you.

I love teaching mindfulness and inspiring others how to live with passion and joy.

My passion is to show you the way to live a life with meaning and purpose.


What our Clients say?

Marlena is one of those rare individuals who has chosen to live joyfully and peacefully despite of, through, and because of the challenges of life.

Her life is a vibrant example of a “Peace Garden,” and anyone fortunate enough to work with her, in the retreats and coaching that she offers, will benefit immensely.

This is a woman of vision, power and strength. She walks the talk and it is a joy to see her bring her gifts to the world for they are surely needed.

If you are in transition or looking for personal development and transformation, I highly recommend the services that Marlena offers.

– Cheryl Brewster B.Msc.founder, The Intuitive Life.


Marlena’s soul is unlike many others on this earth. She has a true gift of teaching peace and gratitude to the hearts of everyone around her. She meets every individual exactly where they are, encouraging them forward but never pushing harder than they can handle. 

She has helped me in my ability to be truly present in a moment, and to invite others to do so as well. 

Marlena has an appreciation for all the millions of every day beauties that surround us in our lives, and in a gentle and loving way invites those she’s with to notice and take joy in them as well. One thing that stands out is that even half hour with Marlena is enough to fill one’s heart with tranquility and joy. A week long retreat is a true and remarkable gift.

-Chelsea Nylor
DOJ Accredited Representative
Washington, DC


I have known Marlena Smith for five years when we met at a grief support workshop.  We both had similar losses, and our journeys ahead seemed daunting.  While coping with her devastating loss, Marlena was able to face realities squarely. 

Seeking direction and support, she earned a master’s degree in Costa Rica and this paved the way to setting up her own retreat center.  Her grounding in the Mindfulness lifestyle allows Marlena to offer support and encouragement for those who find themselves facing changes in life. 

She is a warm, understanding person who hears what is said and what is difficult to verbalize. While fully acknowledging that the journey ahead is challenging, Marlena has helped me find a way towards hope.

Clare B. – a Professor at San Jose State University  


I have known Marlena for 2 years. Marlena is someone who embodies mindfulness and joy, despite challenges in her life she has faced. This is a trait I admire in her as a retreat leader, educator and friend. It’s a lot easier to be joyful when one’s path has been only smooth – but being joyful when things are challenging is impressive.

I worked with Marlena in education. I saw her bring confidence and happiness to middle school aged students (11-14 years olds) through her teachings of mindfulness and mutual respect she had with them – not an easy task to do with this age group. 

If you have an opportunity to be coached or go on a retreat that is led by Marlena, do yourself a favor and do it. She is a living breathing example of someone who chooses to live a meaningful, purposeful and mindful life and her energy is contagious. I find myself wanting to be a better person after I spend time with Marlena. She has taught me a lot already. I know she has inspired many others through example and will continue to do so. 

– Whitney J. – an educator at Los Altos School District 


Marlena’s infectious laughter and her fun-loving personality are uplifting and a joy to be around.  Her wide knowledge of mindfulness practices from different philosophies and her firsthand experience of what has helped in her own journey, have captured my interest over the years and provoked my curiosity. 

Marlena has given me a broader set of skills and navigational tools to use when encountering sadness, anxiety, stress and confusion.  In addition her mindfulness approach to life has provided me with a compass to follow as I search to find my own path towards fulfillment.  As a result of knowing her, I have strengthened my resolve to be present in the here and now, to have a skip in my step and laughter in my heart.

– LJ D., Linguist